Overturned call turning point in Celtics' loss, but plenty of positives to be taken

Ryan Hannable
July 31, 2020 - 9:55 pm
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One play changed everything in the Celtics' 119-112 loss to the Bucks Friday night in their first game back in the NBA's restart.

With 1:28 remaining and the score tied at 107, Marcus Smart appeared to draw a charge on Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo, which would have fouled him out of the game, but the play was overturned on a review and it turned into a blocking foul on Smart and thus a three-point play for Antetokounmpo.

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It was a questionable call as Smart was clearly outside the restricted area. It was a huge swing in the game since the Celtics couldn't bounce back.

While a loss is a loss, there were still a number of positives to be had from the contest.

The Celtics will return to action Sunday afternoon against the Blazers.

Here are five quick thoughts from the game.

Giannis Antetokounmpo is very good

Friday was a perfect example why Antetokounmpo is one of the best players in the league. He finished with 36 points on 14-of-20 shooting, while pulling down 14 rebounds and adding seven assists. His length and strength is unmatched, which makes him incredibly tough to defend. Having someone as good as he is certainly does a number of things for the Bucks and really pays off down the stretch in close games.

Celtics show ton of fight

This one could have been over quick, but the Celtics came all the way back from a 17-2 hole to make this a very competitive game that came right down to the end. The Celtics stormed back to only trail by eight after the first quarter, six at the half and then entered the fourth tied. This game showed the Celtics can absolutely compete with the Bucks in a playoff series as they had Kemba Walker on a minutes restriction and Jayson Tatum had one of the worst games of his career (more on those two things later).

Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, Gordon Hayward all have solid nights

These three players did what they needed to do, although it wasn't enough in the loss. Smart finished with a team-high 23 points in the loss, but was all over the court including making several big plays on the defensive end. Brown added 22 points on 6-of-15 shooting, but was 3-for-10 from three-point range. And then Hayward had a strong all-around night, contributing 17 points, nine rebounds and six assists. It's hard to be down on any of these three players after Friday.

Kemba Walker limited

As expected, Walker only played 19 minutes as he works his way back from a knee injury. The All-Star had 16 points, one rebound and two assists. Despite the limited minutes, Walker looked good and was clearly frustrated not to be on the court down the stretch. But, this is all part of the plan to make sure he can play his full minutes come the playoffs. It's also a good sign the Celtics can hang with the Bucks all the way until the end with Walker only on the court for 19 minutes.

Tough night for Jayson Tatum

This may have been one of Tatum's worst games of his career. In 32 minutes, he had only five points and shot 2-of-18 from the field, including 0-for-4 from three-point range. He was also a team-low minus-13. It likely is not a sign of things to come, but against one of the NBA's best, the Celtics cannot afford to have one of their best players have a game like this.

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